Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Windows 7 Owners, You Want To Do This…

Congratulations! You bought yourself a new multi-core PC and it has the new Windows 7. Or, you just purchased a specially-discounted Win7 upgrade “pack” (see, Super Discounted Windows 7 – Limited Time) and brought your older computer(s) up to date with Microsoft’s latest, and arguably best, operating system.

I know you are probably busy exploring Windows 7’s features, customizing this, and tweaking that, installing your favorite games (um.. er.. I mean “programs“. Ahem) etc., etc., but please, before you do anything else, do this:

1) Find the discs that came with the computer.

Do you see a “Windows 7” or “System Recovery” disc? No? Not surprising. Most manufacturers are using a recovery partition these days (saving maybe 4¢ on the cost of a disc.. more like 1/2¢). Well the plain and simple fact is — you want a disc.

Why? Because the discs are “bootable”, and can allow you to repair machines that will not otherwise boot (aka “start up”). If you ever run into such trouble, you can boot to the disc; which includes an automated boot-repair tool, some repair/diagnostic tools, and the ability to access a System Restore point and revert your system to an earlier (working) time. (see, My favorite Life Saver flavor? System Restore).
[note: The “recovery partition” option wipes your hard drive, and reverts the machine to the factory-condition state –> total data loss. All your updates and installed programs — gone. Thanks, manufacturers! *]

So you have a partition and not a disc. Remedy that now. All you need is a blank CD or DVD.

2) Click the Start button and type repair into the Search box. The top result is what you want to click – “Create a System Repair Disc”.

repair

3) Your optical drive should be detected (if not, use the ‘drop-down arrow’ to select your CD/DVD drive). Click “Create disc”.

repair2

The drive tray should open, so put in your blank disc…

repair3

After a few moments, the tray should open (“eject”) and you will now have a “bootable” System Recovery disc…

repair4

.. and a powerful tool for repairing your computer in the event of serious errors. You need to make this disc BEFORE you need it.. though I hope you never will.

In case I wasn’t clear: do it now.

Kudos to Microsoft for making this tool a part of Windows.

* Utter, snide, facetiousness. A terrible move; and whoever decided that should be ashamed. And fired. IMHO.

Copyright 2007-2010 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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November 9, 2010 - Posted by | advice, computers, how to, Microsoft, PC, System Restore, tech, troubleshooting, Windows 7 | , , , , , , ,

22 Comments »

  1. Hey Paul,
    Nice article and a worthy tip. I’ve come across many people regarding pc boot-up problems who don’t have installation or recovery disc and scratching their head for solution.
    This can save you a lot of trouble when your pc doesn’t boot up even instead of running around for disc or contacting the vendor for support which may not be free..
    Along with the creation of repair disc, i’d also create a system image so that i can easily boot off with the recovery disc and restore the image eliminating lots of hassle in case of any trouble.

    Like

    Comment by Ranjan | November 9, 2010 | Reply

    • Ranjan,
      Thank you.

      Yes, I quite agree.. in particular about creating an “image” (aka “ghost”) backup — which Vista and Windows 7 makes easy via the Backup and Recovery utility.

      I have written many times about backups (real ratings killers, those) but it is my intention to do a step-by-step illustrated tutorial soon.

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | November 9, 2010 | Reply

  2. Cool. Looking forward to it.

    Like

    Comment by Ranjan | November 9, 2010 | Reply

    • Ranjan,
      Well, it should be “a quickie” article, as Microsoft has made it pretty much 1-click simply
      .. and Windows 7 “nags” you to do it.

      Does anybody, though? I doubt it.
      (I meant, a ridiculously, pathetically small percentage do. The world we live in.)

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | November 9, 2010 | Reply

  3. Thanks Paul. Should come in handy when I buy my new laptop soon.

    Grr

    Like

    Comment by Grr | November 9, 2010 | Reply

    • Grr,
      Hopefully your laptop will come with the disc. But if not, making one should be an early priority!

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | November 9, 2010 | Reply

      • Yes Paul.
        But strange thing is that most of the laptops are not accompanied with recovery CD/DVD..

        Usually Dell used to, but now even they have stopped. Now they charge for recovery DVD.

        Like

        Comment by Grr | November 10, 2010 | Reply

  4. Hi Paul,

    Great article.

    But I have a problem. My notebook does not have a CD/DVD drive and as I have no need for one, I do not intend to buy one.

    How can I create a System Repair/Recovery “Disc” on a USB thumb drive?

    Thanks for your help.

    jbe

    Like

    Comment by jbe | November 9, 2010 | Reply

    • jbe,
      Great question. What is the workaround?

      Unfortunately, I don’t think the utility has the option of creating a “disc image” (.iso) and letting you Save it somewhere. (So it probably doesn’t have the ability..)
      In which case the trick would be not so tricky..
      I think you will need access to another machine..

      One thing in your favor, I don’t believe the discs are “product key” – specific for repair purposes, so if you can borrow an appropriate disc (either 32 or 64 bit), and have access to a machine with an optical drive, you could then use a burning program to “Copy” the disc to an ISO file (such as Nero, or Alex Feinman’s free ISORecorder, and then use an archiving tool like 7Zip to ‘extract’ the files from the ISO and copy them to the root of the thumb drive.

      If you cannot borrow a disc, (and the use of a machine) you might be able to borrow an “external” (USB) CD/DVD drive.. use that to create a disc, and then do the above steps…

      But, other than that, I’m out of ideas. If someone else would like to weigh in…

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | November 9, 2010 | Reply

  5. All right then, will go give this a try.

    Thanks again.

    jbe

    Like

    Comment by jbe | November 9, 2010 | Reply

  6. My computer came with a repair partition and when looking around on it I came across the “burn a recovery disc just incase” option. I have no idea what-all the recovery disc holds but it came in at over 10GB (I was provided with the 3 writable DVDs needed).
    Incidently, I was warned that ANY alteration of the initial partition set-up would make the recovery partition unaccessable.

    Like

    Comment by sunovawot | November 10, 2010 | Reply

    • sunovawot,
      Typically, that option makes a copy of the recovery partition. Using those discs will do the same thing as “Press F12 to Restore your computer” does.. namely, wipe the drive and put a factory image on.

      It is not the same thing as the disc discussed in this article.

      PS — technically speaking, that last bit is untrue. But it is easy enough – especially for those who don’t understand boot sectors, partition tables, the MFT & MBR, etc. – to make happen. Amateurs and novices should not fiddle.

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | November 10, 2010 | Reply

      • Oops, my mistake, checking in the cupboard where I keep such things I find I have made repair disc for my computer. I had completely forgotten about it, thanks for reminding me!
        sunovawot

        Like

        Comment by sunovawot | November 13, 2010 | Reply

        • sunovawot,
          While that was not exactly the purpose I had in mind when I sat down and started writing the article.. I am glad I was able to ‘help’ you.

          And it gladdens me to know that someone out there has made the disc. I hope you never need to use it.

          Like

          Comment by techpaul | November 13, 2010 | Reply

          • The disc came into play last night when I got BSODed. Long story short in the end I used the repair disc to get the computer to reinstall from the recovery partition and loaded a week old system image. All that’s left to do now is to restore some files from yesterday’s backup.
            Definitely a timely reminder. Thanks again.

            Like

            Comment by sunovawot | November 16, 2010 | Reply

            • sunovawot,
              Thank you for sharing your “RL” story. I hope it will help motivate folks to get proactive, and take steps to protect their data.
              (Because when us Geeks say “data”, we mean your photographs, tax records, address book, expensive iTunes library…)

              The disc provides several tools for helping you recover from serious errors (frequently less painfully than a full system re-Install). You need it available before the blue-screen-of-death occurs. Make it today, won’t you?

              Like

              Comment by techpaul | November 16, 2010 | Reply

  7. TechPaul,

    First, great walk through on this… Second, this should be one of the first things people should do when they get their PCs.

    Rick

    Like

    Comment by Ramblinrick | November 12, 2010 | Reply

    • Rick,
      Somehow.. inexplicably, I failed to see/reply to this – sorry!

      Your support is always greatly appreciated here.

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | December 1, 2010 | Reply


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